ATLANTA — More than 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners attended Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell’s 5th Annual Back to Business (B2B) Conference held August 9 through August 11.
The Back to Business (B2B) Conference is Council President Mitchell’s free educational, training and business networking event for all businesses, including minority, veteran and women-owned companies doing business or interested in seeking business with government and corporate entities. There were 90 public and private vendors on hand to share information about procurement opportunities within their organizations.
“Since its inception in 2012, the annual conference has attracted nearly 3,000 participants,” Mitchell said. “This week is a wonderful opportunity for small business owners to engage with one another, as well as with the larger corporate and government sectors of the economy. Each year, we find new ways to present economic opportunities to the small business community of Atlanta. At its core, this week is about economic empowerment for the small business community, who, in turn, employ the majority of the US workforce. I appreciate the efforts of our sponsors and partners to make this event a reality each year.”
The B2B Conference helps Atlanta entrepreneurs navigate the procurement processes and enhance business opportunities, with a particular focus on supporting minority, veteran and women-owned enterprises. Each year attendees can network and learn best practices from industry experts including leaders from the Technology Association of Georgia, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the Georgia Restaurant Association and the Atlanta Business League, among others.
Mario Taylor is the co-founder/creator of Monsieur, a patented cocktail and drinks machine dispenser. Monsieur introduced automated bartending to the world when it launched in Silicon Valley at TechCrunch in 2013.
Taylor and his business partner are Georgia Tech grads. Taylor attended day one of the conference, which focused on entrepreneurism in the restaurant industry.
“I think this event is great. I think its’s a great opportunity for us to get in front of different business owners, especially for restaurants, as we look to get into the service bar for restaurants,” Taylor said. “We believe Atlanta is the Silicon Valley of the Southeast. There is great opportunity for us here, especially for young black entrepreneurs, and this event is a great opportunity for our product to get exposed. We appreciate the support and hospitality from events for small businesses from City of Atlanta.”
Ira McNeal is local Real Estate agent and attended day two of the B2B Conference, which focused on technology.
“I thought this event was great. Any time you’re able to connect with like-minded people, small business owners, it’s great because you never know who you might connect with,” McNeal said. “You might find someone you may partner up with, different avenues or walk of lives that may enhance your business. I’m glad the city took initiative to create an event for small business owners, and lend great information. As a real estate agent with Keller Williams, technology is always growing, and it’s important to be up to speed with all forms of it for a successful business. It’s always good to be around business owners who utilize technology as their main strategy and put it in the forefront of their business.”
Shirley A. Langley, a certified public accountant, said she knows that the livelihood of the American economy depends on small businesses.
“You’re only going to have only so many big business, a vast majority of development, and employment comes from small business,” Langley said. “You’re only going to have so many Time Warner’s, etc. Small business are extremely multiple. I moved from Arkansas and Texas to here in search of starting my own business. It was easier and better for me in Atlanta, especially for being a minority individual, yes Atlanta is the best place.”